Quite often, paedophile priests go decades without being punished or caught for their crimes. Sometimes offenders are protected by fellow priests and allowed to keep offending.
Other times, their crimes go unreported – survivors and their families are often shamed or scared into remaining silent.
This was the case with Brother Colgan Taylor.
Taylor was a “spiritual director” and “counsellor” for the Marist Brothers in Australia. His high position in the Catholic Church allowed him access to small children and he was protected when rumours sparked that he was abusing children.
Lancelot Kenneth Taylor was raised and educated in Mosman, Sydney. In the depression of the 1930s, Taylor’s employment options were limited so he decided to become a Marist Brother.
At the age of 18, he started training to become a priest. He was given a religious alias – Brother Colgan Taylor.
Taylor taught at various Marist Brother schools throughout New South Wales & Queensland including Marcellin College Randwick and Marist Brothers Mosman. He later became Brother Superior at a Marist Brothers school in North Queensland.
He also served at the Marists’ Pacific Novitiate in Lomeri, Fiji.
Taylor started abusing girls in his late fifties.
In the 1970s, a teenage girl complained the paedophile had assaulted her in the Wategos Beach district of New South Wales. Taylor befriended her family before taking advantage of the situation and abusing the teen.
During his stint in Queensland from 1979 to 1983, he abused two young girls – one aged five or six and the other was between eight and eleven. The older girl had an intellectual disability.
He abused the girls in their own homes. Their parents caught him in the act – but never reported the incidents to police. The younger girl reported the abuse herself in 2002. She was in her twenties.
Taylor pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 18 months in jail by the Brisbane District Court. Taylor’s lawyer argued the sentence should be suspended as he was suffering from heart problems, depression and stress related to the charges. He was aged 80 at the time.
Judge Brian Hoath disregarded these claims and Taylor served four months behind bars. The rest of his sentence was served in the community.
Taylor died in December of 2012. The Marist Brothers of Australia added a glowing memorial to their website for the paedophile and suggested he was receiving his “eternal reward”.
The Marist Brothers didn’t mention his crimes or his time in jail.
It is unknown how many victims Taylor had. According to Broken Rites, there could be numerous more victims throughout New South Wales & Queensland, both boys and girls.
How many victims did Taylor keep under wraps? How did he manipulate the girl’s parents to remain silent about the abuse?
How was he allowed to get away with the sexual assault of two girls under twelve?
Australia needs to do better – and we’re aiming to help bring more paedophile priests and institutional abusers to justice.